I'm on my week off between jobs and despite first fears that Husband was going to have to work all week it looks like he is only going to have to work a few hours tomorrow morning - so we have started our "holiday at home".
Today, on a whim, I dragged us to Buscot Park - a stately home and gardens owned by the National Trust in Oxfordshire. It's about a 40 minute drive from where we live. I had an particular motive for wanting to visit.... but I didn't tell my Husband until we got there - not that he would mind.
I have a fondness for some of the art movements that spanned the late 19th and early 20th century - particularly Arts and crafts, Art nouveau and Art deco. More recently I've been exploring the pre-raphaelites, the artists that often went hand in hand with the artisans of the Arts and Crafts movement. Luckily for me, Oxfordshire has many connections with Arts and Crafts and the Pre-Raphaelites - Kelmscott Manor, the country home of William Morris is also close by.
Anyway... Buscot Park is home to the Faringdon Collection - a large collection of artworks put together by the 2nd Lord Faringdon in the early 20th century. It features artworks from 500 years of western and oriental art. But most importantly, it contains one of the most stunning pieces of Pre-Raphaelite art by the artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones, a series of 4 paintings and 10 joining panels entitled "The Legend of the Briar Rose" - now all built into a room in the house. The main panels are snapshots of the story of Sleeping Beauty.
I walked into the room and felt a tingle down my spine. The paintings glow, the colours blend - so soft that they almost look like pastels even though the image is rendered in oil. The world is sleeping and from the palace guards, to the king on his throne, the handmaidens and sleeping beauty herself the whole world is dreaming. Entwined around all the figures is the briar rose that has grown and twisted around as the figures slept.
I am a romantic at heart. I love arthurian legends, fairytales, true love and promises that are never broken. It's been a long time since I've been affected by a work of art as much as I was today and it made me feel so peaceful.